Werkleitz Festival 2021

Bringing together 4 years of EMAP/EMARE Residencies

18 June 2021
— 12 September 2021
Conference and Discourse Programme new world dis/order
18 June – 4 July

Online Exhibition EMAP Garden @ Ars Electronica
8 – 12 September

In what kind of a future world do we want to live? This year the Werkleitz Festival explores New Spheres: move to … sociosphere, ecosphere, bodydatasphere. From 18 June to 12 September, Werkleitz Festival presents an extensive discursive programme, both online and offline featuring the works produced within the European Media Art Platform (EMAP) residency programme over the last 4 years.

From 8 till 12 September the closing exhibition will be presented in the virtual EMAP Garden of the Ars Electronica in Linz. Four of the works included have been created during EMAP Residencies at IMPAKT. These are:

Check out the Werkleitz Festival website for the detailed programme of talks, screenings and virtual exhibition: 


Which innovative ideas can art provide for the societal, ecological and technological challenges of the future in an age of global transformation? That is one of the central questions of the Werkleitz Festival 2021 move to … sociosphere, ecosphere, bodydatasphere, which will be held in two phases.

In cooperation with the German Federal Cultural Foundation and supported by the ZEIT Foundation, the online conference new world dis/order will be streamed from the former headquarters of the East German Ministry of State Security in Halle (Saale) and explore the questions of the three festival spheres. 

On consecutive weekends from 18 June to 4 July lectures by experts from the realms of science, art and technology will be presented online along with a range of events including performances, films and podcasts. 

19 – 20 June, move to … sociosphere: On the opening weekend the speakers will present analyses and unique perspectives on the social, political and economic challenges of our digital, globalized society. Related issues will be artistically explored by Total Refusal, who have developed a tour through Red Dead Redemption 2 that critically examines the depiction of the professional world in computer games, and more. There will also be a streaming exchange between the WRO Media Art Biennale and the Werkleitz Festival in cooperation with the Silbersalz Festival.

26 – 27 June, move to … ecosphere: In the lectures (with Q&A) the effects of humans on the ecosphere will be analyzed, as this has long since ceased to be an abstract concept but can now be seen and felt by (virtually) everyone. An audio walk by the LIGNA artist collective will also explore this subject.

3 – 4 July move to … bodydatasphere: The lectures on this weekend will focus on the datafication of our bodies. Is it now time to transcend the body and enter into a posthuman or transhuman era? In addition, two performances will descend into the realm of the bodydatasphere: Empathy Swarm – with a swarm of robots that can be remotely controlled online – and Kissing Wave (working title) – a social distancing experiment especially conceived for the festival that explores our kissing behavior under the current circumstances.

The conference and discourse programme will be flanked by film productions from award-winning EMAP artists (including Chloé Galibert-Laîné (FR) & Kevin B. Lee (DE) and Total Refusal (AT)), and by podcasts and features from the festival center.

Online Exhibition EMAP Garden @ Ars Electronica 8 – 12 September

The Werkleitz Festival 2021 is a correspondence location of the 2021 Ars Electronica. In the past 4 years the artists and collectives at 11 institutions of the European Media Art Platform have been researching the most urgent challenges of our age. From 8 to 12 September the virtual closing exhibition will feature 44 works that have been produced with the support of Creative Europe. The three spheres of the Werkleitz festival provide the framework for these works as well: the artistic examination of the sociosphere led to the creation of subversive tools which individuals can use to defend themselves against digital surveillance. In the realm of the ecosphere climate change and maritime pollution are examined or artificial life forms are created as a metaphor for posthuman life. Works in the bodydatasphere investigate the swarm intelligence of robots or create tulip patterns from Bitcoin exchange rates.

Bal Masqué closing party
The EMAP Bal Masque organized by IMPAKT represents the conclusion of the four-year grant-production cycle of the European Media Art Platform. 

Cultural and media partners include:
MDR KULTUR, arte Kurzschluss and the international art magazines Neural and Arshake.

Alongside Werkleitz the following members of EMAP are among the main organizers:
Ars Electronica, Linz (AT); Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), Liverpool (UK); IMPAKT, Utrecht (NL); Antre Peaux, Bourges (FR); LABoral, Gijón (ES); Kontejner, Zagreb (HR); WRO Art Center, Wrocław (PL); RIXC, Riga, (LV); Onassis Stegi, Athen (GR); m-cult, Helsinki (FI)

Additional regional partners:
Silbersalz Festival, DOK Leipzig, Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle, Salinemuseum Halle (Saale) e.V. and the Francke Foundations (co-directorship with Werkleitz for the cultural year Halexa, siede Salz! Herkunft trifft Zukunft in Halle (Saale)).



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